Monday, December 9, 2013

The Perfect Gift

'Tis the season.

We are all making our lists and checking them twice.

The stores are crowded with people searching for the perfect gift.

My list seems to be never ending.  Every time I think I am making progress I remember someone else who deserves some kind of gift or token of my of appreciation.

Yesterday, my church held their annual Walk to the Manger Service.  It is a beautiful, awe-inspiring rendition of the nativity story.  One that brings tears to my eyes each and every time I see it (even when I see it twice in one day)!  At the end of the service each person in the congregation is invited to come up and lay a gift at the feet of Jesus.  You get to walk right up to the manger, complete with a real live infant, and present a gift - from you to Jesus.  The gifts that are collected are given to a ministry that makes sure children whose parents are in prison, still get gifts on Christmas morning.  

This year I couldn't help but wonder as I looked at the precious baby portraying Jesus, what I would give if this really was Jesus?  If he was here today, what would I give him?  Would I go with something practical, perhaps a new podium for his speaking engagements?  Would I choose something sentimental, something just Jesus and I would understand?  Or would I go for a prank gift?  Come on, you know God has a sense of humor!

The thing is, Christ is here today.  And there is something he wants, and each one of us, already has the perfect gift to give him.  You see the Bible tells us that all of us, everyone, has been given a spiritual gift, and this gift is the kind that is meant to be re-gifted!  Think of it as a "must return" policy.  To fully enjoy this gift you have already been given, you must use it to serve others.  You receive it, and then you have to give it away.  Give it right back to God.  

Perhaps you are thinking the "spiritual gift fairy" (by the way that fairy's name is actually The Holy Spirit) passed you by.  But alas, he has not.  Scripture tells us a lot about spiritual gifts

1.  EVERY Christian has at least one spiritual gift.  (I Cor. 12:7)  It might not always feel like it but you are a loved and fully gifted child of God.  He has bestowed upon you all his love and the gift or gifts that he has specifically picked out just for you.  You have one, I promise.  YOu just have to find it!

2.  NO Christian has EVERY spiritual gift.  (I Cor. 12:28-30)  That woman you think can do it all, she can't.  Most likely there are gifts you have that she does not!  Perhaps it is the case that she has more than her fair share, but I promise you she does not have them all!

3.  We do not get to choose our spiritual gifts, God chooses them.  (1Cor. 12:7-11)  I would LOVE to be a singer.  I adore music, am continually moved by music, and feel incredibly close to God through music. But alas, I can not sing a note!  I am NOT gifted musically, AT ALL!!!  Had it been up to me I would be, but God chose something different for me.  So when you cringe at that lady in the back of the church belting out the music horribly off key, smile, it's probably me!

4.  There is no one gift that every Christian has.  (1 Cor. 12: 29-30)  We are all gifted differently, there is no gift more important than any other gift and no gift that runs  through all of us.  We are unique.  We are all different.  Same is boring.  God adores diversity.

5.  Believers will have to account to God for how they used their spiritual gifts. (1 Peter 4:10)  There is no way around this one.  You do have a gift, you really do.  And some day you will have to answer to God for the way you used that gift.

6.  Spiritual gifts used without love never accomplish God's purpose.  (1 Cor. 13:1-3)  These gifts must ALWAYS be used with love.  Without love even the kindest gesture, the sweetest song, or wisest words are worth nothing.  All that you are, and all that you have has come from love.  The love God has for you.  Everything that you do therefore, must come out of this love and reflect this love.

The perfect gift is something you already possess.

All Christ wants this Christmas is YOU…using the gifts He has given you…to further his kingdom.  That is the perfect gift!